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Labour Party pledges radical change to cycling funding

Peter Stuart
26 Sep 2017

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference, Andy McDonald pledged to spend £10 per head annually on cycling and walking

A Labour government would spend £10 per head on cycling and walking if elected, the shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald pledged on Monday at a rally outside the Labour Party Conference. 

The current rate of spend for England, excluding London, was calculated in 2016 at only £1.38 per person. This money includes spend on infrastructure projects, cycling programmes such as Bikeability, cycling facilities, local sports and other engagement and policy activity. 

At the moment London is significantly ahead of the rest of England in terms of cycling spending, where the spend is estimated at £17 per cyclist per year.

Similarly, in Cambridge the spend is estimated at £13 per cyclist per year.

‘Our country is blighted by illegal air pollution, crippling congestion and a public health crisis,’ McDonald said. ‘Cycling and walking can holistically address all these issues in an efficient, cost-effective way.’

A Radical Shift

The move was welcomed by cycling campaigners, who considered it a landmark announcement. At present the DfT is often levelled with complaints of under-resourcing cycling, with the previous London Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan describing the department as nearly obstructive in an interview with Cyclist.

Similarly, in an interview with Cyclist earlier this year, Cycling UK Policy Director Roger Geffen claimed, ‘Overall central government has performed very poorly in promoting cycling.

‘That’s not to deny that there are some individuals in Government departments who really do the best with the remits and resources that they’ve got,’ Geffen added.

‘Overall we’ve seriously underperformed in promoting cycling in the UK.’

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, which of course includes members from all major parties, recommended a spend of at least £10 per year per cyclist, increasing to £20 over time.

Stephen Morgan, a member of the group, claimed, ‘I am thrilled to hear our Shadow Transport Secretary pledge £10 per head for cycling and walking if elected.

'We need a radical shift in our transport system and we are committed to making sure that happens.’

Even at £10 per head, the UK would still lag significantly behind the Netherlands, where spending is £24 per cyclist per year.

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